KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Summer Grilling, Italian-Style
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Saturday, May 21, 2005
Summer Grilling, Italian-Style
This weekend is ideal grilling weather. So we fired up the grill, threw on some steaks, and made a few of our friends very happy. The menu for our "Is Summer Here Yet?" dinner was simple and inspired by Italy.

We started with nibbles for toasting:
• Roasted spiced almonds and cashews
• Marinated olives
• Champagne cocktails

I roasted raw almonds and cashews in a 325F oven with olive oil, salt, and brown sugar until toasty and brown. They were completely addictive. You could also add pecans to the mix. These, along with plenty of Champagne and olives marinated in orange zest and garlic, kept the gang happy while the rest of the meal was moving along.

We then moved on to the main event:
• Grilled Porterhouse steaks with red onion marmalade
• Grilled mushroom salad
• A gorgeous Cotes du Rhone

After firing up the grill, I rubbed olive oil on 4 beautiful Porterhouse steaks before tossing them on a really hot grill. The steaks were really incredible. It's so important to purchase your meat from a reputable butcher or rancher. I don't know how many times I've plugged Prather Ranch, but they are really the best. But there are plenty of other places to get great steak, just look around and ask lots of questions.

We served the steak medium-rare with the red onion marmalade and the mushroom salad, all on the same plate. You could extend the meal by serving the salad first, then serving the steak with grilled zucchini and summer squash as a second course. But make sure you get a yummy, peppery red wine to have alongside your lovely steak.

And for dessert:
• Homemade pistachio ice cream

The pistachio ice cream, which was actually a gelato recipe, had incredible flavor but the texture was grainy and a bit icy. I used a recipe from Saveur. This is my second attempt at making pistachio ice cream/gelato, and the first time was far worse. So perhaps, after my third attempt (and some mucking with the recipe), I will share it with others.

Red Onion Marmalade
To serve this marmalade with steak, omit the honey. Add the honey and serve with pork or lamb. It's competely addictive.

3 medium red onions, preferably organic
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey (optional)
1/2 cup dry rose wine
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Peel the onions, slice them in half lengthwise, and cut them into thin half-moons. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, until soft.

Add the honey and wine, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in the marjoram or oregano, and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Before serving, warm the marmalade over low heat.

Grilled Mushroom Salad

About 1 pound cremini mushrooms (or about 6 mushrooms per skewer/person)
Olive oil
2 shallots, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
About 5 cups spinach
Balsamic vinegar
Wedge of Parmesan

Scatter the mushrooms on a roasting pan or baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil to coat, then toss with the shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Let stand for 30 minutes. Skewer the mushrooms onto wooden skewers, about 6 per skewer (count on one skewer per person).

Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill. Grill the mushroom skewers over indirect heat until tender, about 15 minutes, turning often.

Toss the spinach with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Portion out onto individual plates. Top each with a mushroom skewer. Using a vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan over the top of the salad.


Blogger Fatemeh Khatibloo-McClure said...

God, that onion marmalade is so amazing... I have been craving it since my first taste.

As soon as I get back from Florida, I'm making a huge batch of the stuff!

5/21/2005 10:58 PM

Blogger cucina testa rossa said...

i'm on the next plane back! this sounds incredible!

5/24/2005 6:58 AM

Blogger merideth said...

through pure coincidence i made a sweet onion marmalade this weekend that was very similar to this...served it with grilled swordfish steaks and lordy the mouth-watering that ensued...

5/24/2005 11:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

every recipe I've made from saveur has sucked. the bouchon cookbook has trustworthy sorbet recipes, you might take a look there. pistachio seems hard to me... as you grind it it must get gritty. maybe try a pictaschio syrup, with only a bit of crushed pistachio at the end?

5/30/2005 5:41 PM

Blogger Kim Goodfriend said...

I can't say that I've actually cooked much out of Saveur. Love the articles, can't be bothered with most of the recipes. Anyway, the main issue with the "gelato" was that it was a bit too gritty, even after straining out the ground nuts. Next time I think I'll strain it with cheesecloth. I'll experiment and if I come up with something good, I'll definitely post it.

5/31/2005 8:08 AM


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